Pens organization's coaches, players using camp to get on same page
One of the organization's few coaches who survived an offseason purge, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach John Hynes on Wednesday shed light on what ownership was striving for in revamping most of its on-ice staff last month.
“They wanted there to be some change, not just in the way we play but culturally and in how things went on,” Hynes said after the second day of Penguins development camp workouts at Consol Energy Center.
“It was a real thorough process, and I think the biggest thing is that it's not really broken. It's just there are some slight things that I think management and ownership is looking for.”
Hynes interviewed for the Penguins' coaching position after Dan Bylsma was fired, and he said that process “helped me grow as a coach.” Top assistants Todd Reirden and Tony Granato also were let go, in addition to general manager Ray Shero.
Jim Rutherford was hired to replace Shero, and Mike Johnston replaced Bylsma.
This week's camp is the new regime's first opportunity for on-ice instruction of players — albeit, most of the organization's youngest property with scant professional-level experience.
Hynes said the transition to the new management is “still in its infancy stages right now.”
He said the precise structure of the system the organization plans to run in the NHL and AHL has yet to be discussed.
Now is not the time to immerse young players in that minutia yet.
Hynes said this week has been more about ingraining coaches and prospects into the Penguins' “culture.”
“As we've said, there's not a lot of things that were broken. There's a lot of positivity to build off of,” Hynes said. “Now it's just really getting everyone on the same page, whether that's the coaching staff and the management, not only in Pittsburgh but in Wilkes-Barre.”
Hynes wasn't the only high-profile coach to remain in the organization. Jacques Martin is still with the Penguins but could move into an advisor role, and goaltender coach Mike Bales remains.
The front office was delighted with Bales' work last season. He is happy to stay on the staff.
“I really love this organization and the city,” Hynes said. “What happened with the other coaches was very unfortunate.”